Jets Across America

We just finished another week off the boat.  We started the week in Washington State, where we were staying with our kids and grandkids.  It was in the neighborhood of 100 degrees, so water activities looked really good.  Remember Slip-n-Slides? I seem to remember them as a lot longer! (Maybe I was shorter then…)  But the length of the runway doesn’t seem to bother my grandkids!

Another creative way to beat the heat was their little scooters.  But it was so much work to stand on them… so they got their booster seats (From the car) and put them on the scooters, lowered the handlebars, and voila! Sit Scooters!

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Early morning was a good time for bike riding.  There is a very nice trail along the Columbia River.

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Monday noon was Brian’s Taekwondo class… but when we got there, the building was locked and there were several other kids with parents, waiting for the door to open.  But the teacher never showed up!  Rumor had it that his wife was having a baby…  what kind of excuse is that??

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All dressed up with no place to Taekwando!

My son-in-law Loren has what I think is a dream job.  He is an Ophthalmologist (Try spelling that fast!) and works with Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute.  PCLI has set up great teamwork between Optometrists and Ophthalmologists in many clinics spanning  several states.  The company has three Citation 3 jets, which they keep quite busy flying the doctors and their surgical teams to different locations to do their awesome work.  Loren gets to fly about once a week in one of these cool jets.  And if I’m really lucky, when I visit, I might just get to ride along!  I got very lucky!

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Loren had a doctors’ meeting in Chehalis, Washington Monday night.  One of the company jets would take him there that meeting, and he would stay there that night.  Tuesday morning they would jet him and a team to Lewiston, Idaho for a day of surgery.  The jet would then go on to Spokane, Washington with another team.  I tried not to plead too hard, but there was a seat available so I got it!  I rode in the back on the evening flight to Chehalis, sitting sideways right behind the copilot.  The acceleration of these planes is amazing!  Sitting with my back to one window and facing the one on the other side, it was all I could do to keep upright in my seat!  It is fascinating to watch the pilots and their  workload.  As we were setting up to land, the pilot in the right seat reached back to a drawer in a little bank of cabinetry that separated us.  He grabbed what looked like a garage door opener and faced forward again.  We landed in a few minutes, taxied around to the PCLI hangers, and the door was already opened!  He had used the opener from our landing pattern!  The pilot slid the plane right into the waiting hanger and we were all set, with no ground crew needed.  Pretty slick!

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The next morning we boarded another jet in that hanger, and took off for Lewiston.  Loren and some folks got off there, but I elected to continue on to Spokane. (Not like I was going to help in the surgery!)  Another short hop and we were in Spokane.  At each airport PCLI has a van waiting to transport teams to the clinic and back.  It’s really a very sophisticated setup.

 

About 4:30, as we took the van back to the jet, we noticed a lot of smoke which seemed to be coming from the airport! It turned out to be very close, but not on the airport itself.  I guess it turned out to be quite ugly – one home lost and three others very threatened.  As we took off there was a lot of questioning on the radio as to whether the airport would be closed or not.  The tower said there were fire crews on their way to the scene.  We did see one helicopter but no other fire vehicles.  We flew off with no trouble.  Enroute to Lewiston we saw another fire out on the plains, which was possibly a controlled burn of a field, but still quite a sight from the air.

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My new friend and Pilot Loren (not son-in-law Loren)

So today we flew back to Georgia.  A funny thing happened that I’d never seen before…  We pulled up to the gate, stopped, and everyone started standing and gathering carry-on luggage – but nobody was moving off.  After several long minutes, the captain came on the intercom: “This is kind of strange… we can see the jet bridge, almost close enough to touch, but it has a flat tire!  We will need to move to another gate. We can use a tug to push us back out, but the tug can’t move us to the other gate, so we will have to start an engine.”  So that’s what happened – only a few minute delay, but rather amusing.  I wondered how long it takes to change a flat on a jet bridge!

So other than that, Savannah welcomed us with open arms… or open skies.  The skies opened with a tremendous deluge!  It started raining just as we got there, and just kept building in intensity.  Puddles were ankle deep in minutes.  It made for an interesting trip south to Brunswick.

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Wipers on High to erase Savannah’s Welcome!

We were glad to see Grace was still afloat when we made it back.  Not that I was worried, but I’ve never really worried that somehow my house would sink when I wasn’t there before!  Did have a little problem, though.  Something happened and the 24V system shut off while we were gone.  I reset everything, and got it all going again, but the bad news is that both the refrigerator / freezer and the separate freezer had quit.  So lots of frozen food we’d stockpiled we piled in the dumpster. Sigh.  Life goes on! Great to be back on Grace and in the water!

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So here is a little map of the last couple weeks.  Red lines are commercial flights, orange are the PCLI jets, and blue are where we drove.  So cool that we live on a boat so we can see the country! 😉

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4 thoughts on “Jets Across America

  1. Small world. My husband Jim is an Opthalmologist and worked with Dave Gano who left Kaiser to go work at PCLI several years ago. We have gone with an organization called Canvasback with an eye team to Chuk, Majaro and Yap. A few times we’ve had scrub techs from PCLI on our team! Sound like a great place to work, and fun for you to go in one of their jets. Enjoy getting off land and in the water. Deb Bainer (Hamilton)

    1. It really is a small world… we knew a doc, Jim Maxwell, who went with Canvasback many times. Our son-in-law, Loren, worked for a few years in Guam, so we’ve spent some time out that way. And our other son-in-law, Kevin, spent a year on Chuk as an SM. Beautiful part of the world!

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